Björk, the pop singer, said yesterday she was “very saddened” after learning that a fan had sent her a booby-trapped parcel filled with acid and then shot himself.
The package, aimed at disfiguring or even killing the 30-year-old Icelandic-born singer, was designed to spray the acid into her face. It was intercepted by Scotland Yard’s anti-terrorist branch after a tip-off from American detectives.
Ricardo Lopez, a 21-year-old American, videotaped himself making it and then killed himself in front of the camera, Florida police said. He appeared to be incensed by her engagement to a black musician called Goldie.
Lopez’s is the latest case to raise concern about obsessives who stalk or try to harm celebrities. Björk, who lives in west London, said : “I just think it’s terrible. There’s nothing I can do about it really. I just find it very sad.”
She said she was most concerned for her nine-year-old son. “But he seemed to deal with it in a brave manner.” Björk said she had spoken to Goldie who was “as worried about it as I am. I have been trying to say that I make music, but, in other terms, people should not take me too literally and go into my personal life. It’s the most extreme, obvious case of how not to get involved in a person who likes music.”
She said she would be continuing with plans for a tour next week. “I will be fine, I’m always fine.”
Björk heard the news of the incident on Tuesday night and her manager, Derek Birkett, said it had left her distressed and unable to sleep. “Although she had never met or spoken to the individual concerned, she is naturally very distressed to hear about his death. It is very traumatic for her,” he said. The parcel was addressed to Björk at the offices of her management, Brave, in Wandsworth, south London. It was rendered safe without any injuries.
Lopez’s body was found on the floor of his apartment in the town of Hollywood, near Miami, on Monday. He had shot himself in the head with a .38 revolver. Florida police said : “He admits to being obsessed with her, alludes to her having a relationship with a black man, and in his words, that was unacceptable.”
A police spokesman, Todd DeAngelis, said the propellant Lopez used could have caused burns, disfiguration or even death. When police found Lopez, the camera was pointed at his body with a tape inside labelled “Ricardo Lopez—Last Day”.
The Björk song I Miss You, from her latest release, Post, was playing in the background. Police viewed 11 two-hour video tapes he had made since January. They showed him putting together the chemical propellant and talking about Björk. At one point, he held up the envelope addressed to her home, which told police where to look in London.
Lopez, originally from Atlanta, Georgia, was unemployed. He had worked for his brother in the pest control business, but police did not know if that was where he picked up his chemical expertise.
The risks for celebrities from obsessives has long been recognised, particularly in America. The most notorious case was that of Mark Chapman, who shot John Lennon and was also fixated with the actress Jodie Foster.
Björk, whose full name is Björk Guðmundsdóttir, was voted best female artist in the 1995 MTV Music Awards.